NASA and Boeing have announced the target date for the launch of the second unmanned flight test of the Starliner spacecraft. The second test will not be taken before Thursday, 25 March. The Orbital Flight-2 test is a milestone in the development on Boeing’s route to using the Starliner and transporting astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.
March 25 delivery date Allowed by opening at eastern range, availability of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, continued advances in hardware and software, and the opportunity to dock at the International Space Station. Boeing has mated a reusable crew unit with a new service unit inside the Starliner production facility in the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Currently, teams are completing vehicle interiors before loading goods and completing the final checkout.
Boeing has also completed the formal qualification for the OFT-2 Starliner Flying Program. The certification process included a complete program review and testing to verify that the program met required design specifications. Boeing has yet to complete a comprehensive simulation of the OFT-2 test flight using aviation hardware and the final version of the flight software to model vehicle behavior in flight.
A full test flight will require Boeing to launch the Starliner aboard an Atlas V missile from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Once in orbit, the capsule will dock at the space station and return to Earth in the western United States about a week later. The successful completion of the mission will mark a comprehensive test flight that highlights that the entire system is ready to fly with the crew on board. Currently, SpaceX is the only US company approved to take astronauts into orbit.